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Thread: TENS unit

  1. #1
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    TENS unit

    Has anyone had any significant pain reduction using a tens unit? I tried one and was consistent for about a year with no real success. I'm getting ready to try it again with a new PT. I'll be trying different settings. I just wanted to hear of others experiences and will share mine.

  2. #2
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    no pain relief from Tens unit...
    i remember a feeling of total disbelief...
    because in my case, it was completely ineffective....

    jess

  3. #3
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    I don't have scoliosis, but I used a TENS unit for a back problem. My memory was that it was extraordinarily helpful for my pain, which came from a deep muscle issue. My son (the one with scoliosis) didn't find it helpful at all. But I do wonder if it would work for people, like JDM555, who have a painful muscle mass.

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the replies. I will probably start using my TENS unit again tomorrow. I have severe muscle spasms, especially in my upper left trapezius. We'll see how it goes. I already tried accupuncture and it helped for about an hour...

  5. #5
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    i hope it helps you, rohr!

    Tens was tried on me years ago, after they found spinal arthritis connected to Lyme disease....at that time, it did nothing for my back pain...

    but that is not to say it couldn't help you...i hope it does!

    jess

  6. #6
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    Well, I've got to do something. It seems my options are limited, so I'm reviewing things I've already tried. Thank you, and I hope it works, too! Maybe we just used the wrong setting last time (I'm hoping).

  7. #7
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    Thumbs up TENS unit

    I found it very effective post-op during the healing process. It's also very good for depression. The device must be used correctly and it is not uncommon for the pain to "move around" requiring the electrodes to be placed in a differing positions.. I got very specific instructions from my pain doc and also used the instrction manual. The device cannot just be applied willy-nilly.

    Actually, when I first saw the device I thought it was some type of joke but when I was going through opiate withdrawal I got dramatic relief from the depression.
    Original scoliosis surgery 1956 T-4 to L-2 ~100 degree thoracic (triple)curves at age 14. NO hardware-lost correction.
    Anterior/posterior revision T-4 to Sacrum in 2002, age 60, by Dr. Boachie-Adjei @Hospital for Special Surgery, NY = 50% correction

  8. #8
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    mine was used by my visiting nurse and then by my PT...
    i never applied it myself or "willy nilly"
    it was used on my back....by medical staff...
    but it did not help me...not mentally or physically...
    and there was a lot of depression with Lyme, too!

    i hope it helps you, rohr...
    if not...maybe you could find a doc to give you botox for the muscle spasms...?
    it blocks the neural impulses, so the muscles cannot spasm..
    it also prevents the release of acetylcholine

    jess
    Last edited by jrnyc; 02-14-2011 at 07:09 PM.

  9. #9
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    Karen, I'm glad to hear that the TENS helped you so much. I've never heard of it helping with depression, that's a real plus!

    Jess, I don't think anyone will give me botox. I already asked. Maybe because my curve is already progressing they are afraid to try it. I will bring it up again if, at my next x-ray, my curve has stabilized.

  10. #10
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    hey rohr
    i was researching it on internet...
    apparently, approximately half of insurance companies cover botox for medical reasons, such as migraines, back pain, etc...
    it is getting quite common as a treatment in the big cities...
    i first heard about it at least 6 years ago, from someone getting botox for hip pain!

    i do not believe my thoracic curve is totally stable...it has increased by 2 degrees, while lumbar curve did not change in the same time period...
    i realize 2 degrees isn't a big change...but it is an indication the curve is still increasing...

    i truly wish you could find someone who would at least try the shots for you!
    it is the only type of injection that has ever worked for me...complete success with it...when i think of the years i got trigger point injections from my GP, i cannot believe how much time i wasted...those particular shots did nothing to stop my muscle spasms...it was a lot of pain to deal with....sometimes impacting my breathing...

    i still am willing to try more lumbar injections...they just haven't been effective for me...so far, anyway...

    best regards...
    jess
    Last edited by jrnyc; 02-15-2011 at 12:15 AM.

  11. #11
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    I will talk to my doctor about it again. I don't see him until April. The trigger point injections did give me some relief for about a week. I have to have so many of them. I had 5 at the last sitting and that didn't cover it all. They didn't hurt at all, though. I'm hoping I can get some relief with the TENS unit until then. My top curve progressed 6 degrees in only 2 years, so it's pretty unstable. Maybe when I get my new x-rays, if it doesn't show any progression, I can talk him into giving me the botox injections. I really do want to try it, but am limited where I can go by my insurance coverage. :-(

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by rohrer01 View Post
    Has anyone had any significant pain reduction using a tens unit? I tried one and was consistent for about a year with no real success. I'm getting ready to try it again with a new PT. I'll be trying different settings. I just wanted to hear of others experiences and will share mine.
    I used one pretty consistently as well and while I had it on it definitely helped ease my discomfort but it certainly didn't improve anything over the long term. I had a few times where I had significant muscles spasms and couldn't even take deep breaths and it helped a lot. I found that I had to turn it up pretty high so I could feel it. My husband was always surprised at how high we had to turn up for me to feel it. I never realized until the TENS how much nerve damage was done from my surgery. My pain management docs recommended another device that is a step up from the TENS (can't remember the name) and I will be getting that soon. I'm always willing to try anything one. I'll keep you posted as to how it goes. I would say in your case even if it helps only while you have it on than go with it as it's better than nothing :O)
    Susan

    Diagnosed at 10, Boston brace from 11-13 yrs old.
    50* Lumbar w/ 5 centimeter shift to the left and slight rib hump...
    Surgery Date: April 15 and April 22, 2009
    X-LIF approach for disc repair L5,L4,L3,L2
    Posterior Approach for fusions L5-T5
    Dr. Fox @ Naval Medical Center Portsmouth
    Nice and straight now!!!!!

  13. #13
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    Well, I've tried it and found a setting that seems to help. The only problem that I am having is that in order for it to "distract" me from the pain, I have to turn it up quite high. This causes my muscles to contract which is VERY annoying. I found that putting it on the continuous setting is better since I don't sit there and jerk, but if I move wrong the muscles let me know it. So now I am only going to use it on very bad pain days in adjunct with my meds. That has helped the most. It is just too annoying to use on the lesser pain. I was hoping to use it instead of the meds....

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by rohrer01 View Post
    Well, I've tried it and found a setting that seems to help. The only problem that I am having is that in order for it to "distract" me from the pain, I have to turn it up quite high. This causes my muscles to contract which is VERY annoying. I found that putting it on the continuous setting is better since I don't sit there and jerk, but if I move wrong the muscles let me know it. So now I am only going to use it on very bad pain days in adjunct with my meds. That has helped the most. It is just too annoying to use on the lesser pain. I was hoping to use it instead of the meds....
    I had that problem as well. There's is nothing more annoying than twitching muscles and you feel like they're having siezure! I did find that if I wore it to the rink while my boys were at hockey that the after math of sitting on the bleachers for so long wasn't as bad. I need to get new stick pads for mine so I can start using it again. I definitely got some strange looks if people caught view of the wires. fun stuff!
    Susan

    Diagnosed at 10, Boston brace from 11-13 yrs old.
    50* Lumbar w/ 5 centimeter shift to the left and slight rib hump...
    Surgery Date: April 15 and April 22, 2009
    X-LIF approach for disc repair L5,L4,L3,L2
    Posterior Approach for fusions L5-T5
    Dr. Fox @ Naval Medical Center Portsmouth
    Nice and straight now!!!!!

  15. #15
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    i HATED those muscle contractions! my scoli wasn't as bad back then...i also did NOT have herniated discs back then...i was given tens tx for arthritis in spine, caused by Lyme...
    hated the contractions so much, i quit tx after 4 times...it was CAUSING pain, not alleviating it for me...that is just my own experience...
    i went for deep massages at the gym i belonged to at the time instead...the guy was great...had huge hands that relaxed all my muscles and helped soothe the pain at that time..it was manageable back then...i remember, because i was doing cardio and weights 3-4 times a week, with a trainer for some sessions...also worked full time and went to grad school at nite...i was doing really well then, compared to now!! then i herniated discs...and it was downhill from there...

    jess

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